President Donald Trump came into office vowing to repeal and replace Obamacare. While he successfully neutralized the health care law’s requirement that everyone carry insurance, the law remains in effect.
When Fox News host Chris Wallace noted that Trump has yet to put forward a replacement plan, Trump told him to stay tuned.
“We’re signing a health care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health care plan that the Supreme Court decision on DACA gave me the right to do,” Trump said July 19 on “Fox News Sunday.”
“The Supreme Court gave the president of the United States powers that nobody thought the president had.”
Trump said he would “do things on immigration, on health care, on other things that we’ve never done before.”
We wanted to know if the Supreme Court really did that. So we ran the president’s words by a number of people who study constitutional and administrative law. We heard several reasons why the Supreme Court might not have said what Trump thinks it said.
The likely source
We asked the White House press office for the basis of Trump’s assertion and never heard back. Several law professors pointed to a National Review article by University of California-Berkeley law professor John Yoo, best known as authoring a legal justification that led to waterboarding enemy combatants during the George W. Bush administration.
In the article, Yoo argues that when the Supreme Court ruled against the administration’s rollback of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the court made it more difficult for new presidents to unwind the policies of their predecessors.
How might this give Trump new power?
In theory, Trump could enact a policy, even one judged illegal by the courts, and the person who follows him into office would need to jump through a number of hoops to undo it.
Yoo wasn’t sure if Trump could use the argument to make sweeping changes in health care, saying it “depends on what the administration policy actually says.”
But as Yoo sees it, should Trump establish a new program, the ruling “requires his successor to follow a burdensome process, which could take a year or more, to repeal it.”
Many legal experts disagree with Yoo’s interpretation. Before we go there, we need to recap the court’s DACA decision.
Court sends DHS back to the drawing table
President Barack Obama created DACA on the grounds that every administration has to allocate limited prosecution resources. Obama argued that it was more important to deport violent criminals, drug dealers and thieves than people who had come into the country illegally when they were little. So long as they had committed no serious offenses and met other criteria, they could apply to avoid deportation.
Under Trump, the Department of Homeland Security moved to end DACA. Supporters of the program sued, saying that under the Administrative Procedure Act, that action was arbitrary. In its June 18 ruling, a 5-4 majority on the…